Once upon a time none of us was actually an active motorcyclist. A person had the potential to become a motorbike rider but the opportunity to become had yet to emerge.
The seminal influence on the riding career which is now called Bridge Club was a youth club leader and curate who ran a local Boat Club. Settle down now, there’s nothing even vaguely Operation Yew Tree about any of this.
Ever keen to get out of the house I joined this unlikey, land-locked, collection of Over Active Under Achievers and learned to paddle my own (borrowed) canoe.
At Boat Club I learned to fettle canoes using fibre glass and how to smoke fags. It was great, a lot more fun than learning how Caesar conquered Gaul or how to whack a cricket ball.
We cycled to the local lake to do the actual canoeing, thus we became Bike Squad.
Our Great Leader was a keen motorcyclist and one wintry afternoon in the off season when all the canoes were fettled and we still wanted something to do we were given the job of cleaning his motorcycle prior to its preparation for the coming winter.
This is the origin of my dislike of cleaning motorbikes. I didn’t want to be cleaning it, I wanted to be riding it.
Years later when I was riding for a living things became more firmly established, there seemed no point spending time with a bucket of warm water and a tube of Autosol when I could be out riding for the Yanqui Dollar or looking for adventure.
Things are little different now.
The bike which sowed the seeds of this lifelong aversion was a Norton 650SS and Bridge Club is obliged to Motor Parade (http://motorparade.blogspot.com/2013/07/featherbed.html) for these fine scans.